Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to share our story. My name is Maureen and this is my son, Easton.
Early in my pregnancy I was diagnosed with complete placenta previa. This is where the placenta is fully covering the opening to a women’s cervix. It prevents a natural delivery and instead requires a C-section. The biggest concern is that you could bleed to death if you’re not taken to the closest hospital. For those of you who haven’t heard about this medical condition, or haven’t had to go through this, please take a moment to count your blessings because I now do.
On the evening of Wednesday, March 25, 2015, I woke up on my family’s couch around 10:30 pm. I headed upstairs to check on our three-year-old daughter who was fast asleep. I then went to the bathroom and haggled my husband until we FINALLY agreed on a first name for our son. Now, if only I could get him to agree on our soon to be son’s middle name… ha-ha since my husband’s famous last words were “We have PLENTY of time for that.”
To make this long story short after agreeing on our son’s first name I pulled the covers up and heard a popping sound. I recognized that sound from my pregnancy with our daughter and I swore my water had just broke. (I found out later that my water had not broken after all) I immediately ran to the bathroom and turned on the light. It was then when I realized I was bleeding. In the seconds that followed I realized that I was losing a lot of blood and had to call 911. It was then when I comprehended the severity of placenta previa. I kept thinking about what my doctor told me… that at first sight of blood I had to get to a hospital or else I could bleed out and my son and I could die. I was one day away from 33 weeks and terrified since I hadn’t felt my son move or kick. Like any other parent; I could have cared less about myself as long as my son was okay. Once the medical personnel arrived, they had a hard time stabilizing me because ALL of my veins had collapsed due to my extreme blood loss. After numerous attempts, they were finally able to secure a vein and transported me to the hospital where I eventually had an emergency C-section.
According to my OB doctor who performed my emergency C-section in the early morning hours of Thursday, March 26th, I was one step away from receiving a blood transfusion, though thankfully that was not needed. However, the next thing he told me is something I will NEVER forget. He told me that I had lost between 2-2.5 liters of blood, which is half of your body’s blood supply, and that my son and I shouldn’t be alive today.
For 5 weeks and one day, I visited our son, Easton, daily in the NICU department at the hospital. On Friday, May 1, 2015 Easton was finally able to come home. We were so excited, as was our three-year-old daughter, Camilla May.
Shortly after I delivered Easton, a few nurses at the hospital told me about the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL). They suggested I meet with someone from Early Intervention since I had just delivered a little boy who was seven weeks early. I wasn’t sure what to think at the time but they assured me that it was my right to accept or decline these services. After researching this department, I realized OCDEL’s primary focus is on “creating opportunities for the commonwealth’s youngest children to develop and learn to their fullest potential.” This was important to me since I was looking for someone who specializes in Early Childhood who could tell me if my son would have any developmental issues due to his premature birth.
After a few days, and a lot of research, I agreed to an in-home visit with two people from the Office of Early Intervention who informed me of their services. They worked closely with Easton to assess his needs and to focus on what he was (and was not) doing. They gave me suggestions for how I could improve his cognitive and social skills and what they look for when they work one-on-one with children.
In addition, they went over the various programs they offer. One of their programs is called “Parent to Parent”. This service gets in contact with people who have gone through a situation similar to yours. I spoke to two different people who provided me with excellent advice and gave me the support I needed during this difficult time.
Having a baby in the NICU unit, working full-time and caring for a three-year-old is stressful but Early Intervention repeatedly reached out to me to check on Easton and I. They also wanted to know if I had spoken to anyone in the Parent to Parent program and if we found the program helpful or if I would like to talk to someone else. They asked if there was anything they could do for me if I had any questions/concerns. This was a huge help since I had never had a pre-mature child before. I had no idea what to expect, how to take care of him when he came home, etc.
The women I spoke to eased my mind and allowed me to have a better understanding of what to expect. I was overwhelmed with all that had happened. For the past three years, I have been in the “Track” program and have gained a lot of feedback pertaining to Easton’s progress. I would have never had this advice and suggestions had it not been for the staff at Early Intervention.
Easton will be three in March and I am constantly reminded of how blessed we are to be here. The ASQ surveys that are provided free of charge from Early Childhood Intervention are very helpful in knowing where Easton should be and what milestones to expect in the future. We are extremely appreciative for their comments and suggestions. I can assure you that I will continue to speak highly about the services Early Intervention provides to people such as myself. One day, I will share this story with Easton so he knows how lucky we are to be alive and how blessed we were to have these wonderful people who changed our lives forever.
Maureen B., Dauphin County